(123-06-09) Perhaps That's Wisdom
Perhaps That's Wisdom
Summary: Princess Visenya Targaryen and her Mistress of Keys, Lady Ynys Yronwood, discuss children, marriage, and crones and their wisdom, a scant few days after the birth of the next heir to the Dornish throne.
Date: 09/06/2016
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After nearly a day and a half of sleeping Visenya finally rose from bed. Well, she didn't exactly rise. She did bathe with a considerable amount of help from her handmaidens, and then she lounged in bed awake, but in enough pain that she did not get up. Today is the first day that she's actually gotten out of bed. Freshly bathed again, and completely dressed she sits in the solar with her baby in her arms. "She sleeps a lot. I thought she'd be more…lively." She says to Vynesa, and the younger lady offers helpfully, "They do for several months, Princess." To this the Targaryen makes a little face.

"She's tired too," suggests Lady Ynys Yronwood.

The yellow-gowned Mistress of Keys is lounging at her ease at a slight distance from the younger women, present but unobtrusively so, writing a letter on a slanting lap desk set on the floor next to her nest of cushions. Her bracelets chime softly each time she dips her quill in her inkwell. Now and again her eyes lift to the new mother and her child — a preoccupation which is almost beginning to verge upon a nervous tic and become thus most unlike her. "They grow and change very swiftly," she adds, practically; "if she's not amusing you now, just wait a month and she'll be different."

Visenya peels back the light swaddling around the baby to look her over again. She does this often, as if she thinks one of her little toes will fall off or the spot where her cord still dries will become infected. It is warm in the room so the swaddling is really only to look pretty. And even at three days old a princess must look pretty. Or, well, as pretty as she can mange. Her little head is still cone-shaped, but at least the puffiness in her eyes has went down, and occasionally she opens them to reveal violet eyes that will be stunning against her dark hair and tan colored skin.

"Whenever mother had a new baby she would send him or her to the wet nurse, and we wouldn't see them until they were toddling about." She admits as she looks down at the unwrapped newborn in her arms. "I don't understand why she never held them, though. Maybe she liked it the first few times, but after having so many babies it became old hat to her."

Inscribing slow and careful words upon the parchment before her, Lady Ynys flicks a glance at this latest adjustment of the child's swaddling clothes and muses, "I didn't get bored with my children. Perhaps four isn't enough for the hat to become old…? I think, as with most things in life, the more time and attention you put in the more pleasure you'll reap. Children come to seem like real people more quickly," and her slow words, too, quicken as she stops writing to dip her quill again, "if you see them every day. There's usually something new, if you have the patience to wait and see it."

"My mother is…" Visenya searches for a word to describe her mother before finally she says, "I don't want to sound unkind, but my mother is very interested in herself. And what attention she can get for herself." She passes a hand over the baby's torso, and then down her leg. "I will have to pay attention to this one. She'll be my only chance, I suppose." She sounds troubled, and the knitting of her brow is further proof of her being troubled.

A bead of ink wells up at the end of Lady Ynys's quill as she lifts her head to regard the princess fully, her warm brown eyes slightly narrowed and her expression impassive for as long as it takes to digest this remark. "Your only chance?" she echoes softly. "Your Highness, do I understand you to mean the maesters believe there may be some difficulty in the future…?"

"It could be worse. I know I'm very fortunate, all things considered." Visenya forces up a smile that doesn't light up her eyes in the way that her genuine smiles do. "I could have married a man who was disgusted with her because she is of the fairer sex." The implication being that a husband from North of the Red Mountains would have held that outlook. "Instead I married a man who would rather see me alive than have a son. Doesn't even care about having one. In fact, I think he'd be content with an army of girls." Her smile wavers, but remains in place, "He's trusted me when no one else did. Gave me respect. Responsibility. A purpose. I…" Her voice cracks just a touch, and her smile finally falters. "It makes me sad I cannot have more because I know they would bring him joy. That's all."

"My husband loved me, in the beginning — but he loved his sons more," is Lady Ynys's comment upon the nature of northern men. She offers a wry smile with this unusually personal revelation, offered quite on purpose, in exchange for the princess's. "You are fortunate," she agrees, quietly sincere, "in your loving husband and your healthy daughter, and I hope when you've settled down from the upheaval of bearing her you'll find your peace with what the gods will…" She rises, coming nearer with a chime of bracelets and a swish of silk, kneeling down next to where the younger woman sits. "She's fortunate too, to be born Dornish," she adds, looking now at the child. "I think you and I appreciate that fortune more than those who have not lived otherwise."

Visenya looks up from her sleeping baby to Ynys when she speaks of her deceased husband. "I'm sorry." She says quietly, and she sounds like she means it instead of just saying the appropriate words. "Before I married Prince Torren I never wanted children of my own. I've only ever wanted a child with him." She then says in a low voice despite them being the only ones in the room, "Kella Blackmon was pregnant when she was killed at the Red Rookery. She had just told him before she left." She nods her head once, "I'm glad she is. It just makes me sad for Prince Torren."

To shrug off the sympathy is easy enough for Lady Ynys, who has after all had plenty of time to become accustomed to where her youthful choices have led her. Her shoulders shift; she speaks no more of her marriage but only of Prince Torren's, past and present. "I didn't know that, of course," she says softly. "This has been a long time coming, for him and for Dorne if not for you. I wish you weren't having a dose of the bitter along with the sweet… But that's a real marriage; never one taste in the mouth, but many."

"You're right, though. No child will be more loved than she is." Visenya says with a shadow of a smile. "She will never want for company. Not when she has so many cousins. She is a very lucky little girl." She starts re-wrapping the ornate swaddling, but it's not as tight or as neat as how the nursemaid had it wrapped. "Thank you." She says to Ynys, "You always know the right words to put things into perspective for me."

The Mistress of Keys watches with interest, but doesn't offer the help she knows how to give — the way the mother wraps her child is, by default, the right way. She tilts her head, nodding her acceptance of the compliment. "You wouldn't like it to taste always the same… too much sweetness is cloying upon the tongue, and too much sameness is bland and boring," she adds. "The flavours of your Dornish life may be too sharp in some moments but they'll always be changing, like your daughter as she grows. Everything passes. You'll never feel again exactly what you feel in these first days… I think it's all of value. The sharing of a sorrow can strengthen the bonds of love."

"I would have never thought that sadness could be boring." Visenya says, her tone not contrarian so much as reflection on how constant sadness may be boring. "It could be worse. It could be much worse." Telling herself this seems to fortify the young princess. "You've been such a help to me. Not in just running the household. You tell me things that my mother ought to have told me, but never did." She looks into Ynys face then, and her vividly colored eyes search it before she asks, "I want you to say the Crone's prayer for the baby's naming ceremony. Not because I think you are old. You are still one of the loveliest women I know. But because you are wise, and I only hope that I can learn enough wisdom from you to pass on to her."

This latest request from House Martell for her services leaves Lady Ynys briefly nonplussed. She sits in silence, considering, an unlikely crone in low-cut yellow sandsilk, the mark of an old knife scar visible on her left arm, heavy golden earrings reflecting light upon her features.

"… I wish you had a mother you could ask," she says simply; "failing that, I wish I truly had wisdom enough to stand in such a place. But if you're sure it is your wish, Your Highness, I'll take it for the honour you intend."

"Even if she were here my mother would be offended by this request because she only sees the Crone as an old woman." Visenya admits. "But any woman who has sense like you do can be the crone. Better you for the crone when you are so beautiful and full of life." She may be buttering up Ynys a touch to make the honor easier to swallow. "And it's important that you take a part in these festivities. You're not a servant. You're an advisor, and a vital part of this household. I don't think I could do it without you, and I want people to know you're important to us."

A shake of Lady Ynys's dark head. "When someone admits to being persuaded," she advises, being an advisor, "you can stop persuading and move on to something else." She is however smiling slightly, because however calculated the princess's remarks may be in this moment they're the utterance of truths displayed silently, tangibly, on many another day. "You would do very well without me, though," she adds. "You did do well, before ever we met. I'm glad to have eased your path — but you don't need me to walk it."

Visenya lets out a small chuckle that borders on self-conscious. "Well, I knew you'd do it, but I want you to want to do it." She shakes her head a little. "I would do tolerably without you, but not well. You're the difference between getting by on the skin of my teeth and having the opportunity to thrive." She picks up the bell then to ring for the nursemaid, and then the woman comes she hands the baby off to her. Because princesses don't have to change diapers. "What do you know of the Tolands?" She asks suddenly once the wet-nurse is gone.

"Not a lot… not in the present day," admits Lady Ynys, shrugging. "You know, I think, I rode down the Boneway a matter of days before arriving in Starfall… I came here, because Princess Amarei asked me a favour for Dorne; I stayed because of you and your child. Please don't think me reluctant, or insensible of the personal honour you would do me," she explains quietly. "It was just a surprise for a moment… I know the prayer; I have said it already over some of my grandchildren. I can't say I am not of an age for it." She quirks her eyebrows at that. "What of House Toland? Not trouble, I trust?"

"Of course I don't think that." Visenya says, "I just know I don't actually say it enough, and I want you to know that you are appreciated." She nods her head softly, but allows for the change of subject from Crone to Tolands. "Lady Dyella? The woman accused of killing Lord Wyl's wife? She is a Toland. I wondered if you knew her or her people."

Still Lady Ynys holds her own ground on the matter: "You show it, and that is always better than saying it. I would not have stayed if this," she lifts a hand from her lap, bracelets sliding up her muscled brown arm as she gestures between the pair of them, "didn't work: I would not have done either of us that disservice…" Her arm, and her bracelets, settle again. "I know no more of these young Wyls than I have heard spoken here in recent days. Now, Lord Wyl, I remember chiefly for the wine on his breath and the extra pair of hands he seemed to have grown when he tried to corner me at a feast a hundred years ago or so…" Her smile grows crooked in memory. "We didn't see him in public for two or three days; and then," she recalls slowly, "he spoke to me as though nothing had happened. I think he was too far into his cups to remember, and too embarrassed to ask anyone where the wound had come from. I only know such old gossip," she shrugs, "of no use to you, I'm afraid."

"I know you would have not stayed." Visenya says in regards to the previous subject, "Had we not got on. And I admire you more because of it." Then she lets the subject change back to the Toland's. She listens with a careful ear before she asks, "This was after he was married, of course? He is much older than you." Not that it is unusual for married men to be lechers. Or indication that he did not love his wife. She smiles a shade at Ynys, "I hope he still has a scar from it."

A nod confirms that Lord Wyl was wed already to the lady whose death, by fair means or foul, has provoked so much talk of late. "… Perhaps," admits Lady Ynys, lifting her eyes speculatively to the heavens. Then her gaze returns to the princess. "I don't remember where I cut him. I used to get into so many fights with men," she sighs, shaking her head at the follies of her youth. "I wouldn't now; I don't think they're worth it. Perhaps that's wisdom," she jests.

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